The Great Round-up
According to Spain’s rulers, all Roma could be suspected of disobeying laws. Even though many families complied with regulations requiring them to have a fixed residence and shared trade, a round-up was planned to imprison all Roma and separate them from society.
Gaspar Vázquez Tablada, bishop of Oviedo and governor of the Council of Castile, the highest political body in the Spanish monarchy, proposed the round-up to Fernando VI, who approved it.
It would be the Marquis of Ensenada who planned the round-up and organised the army, magistrates and marshals (local police) with high levels of caution. On Wednesday 30 July 1749, the order was given to detain “all established Roma and vagrants in the kingdom with no exception for sex, age or status, and without respecting any type of shelter in which they have been received”.
At that time, the Holy See had just eased ecclesiastical immunity rights at the regional level insofar as they concerned Roma. These rights prevented anyone from being taken prisoner in sacred locations: churches, convents, hermitages, cemeteries, etc.